Google wireless network for your mobile soon

Not happy with the current network providers to your mobile phone? You might soon get a better option – Google!

After providing the world’s most popular phone software and offering one of the fastest broadband speeds in the US, Google is now planning to become your mobile network operator.

According to reports in the US media, Google has plans for its own wireless network that customers could use to make calls, send texts and browse the web on their mobiles.

Instead of building masts, however, Google is in talks to buy access to existing 3G and 4G networks at wholesale prices, and sell the connectivity back to customers at a cheaper rate.

In that case, Google would be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a company that offers mobile service plans using existing networks.

MVNOs do not own the infrastructure the networks are built on.

Instead, they buy access to parts of these networks at wholesale prices.

An MVNO is typically run as an independent company, with its own staff and customer service.

The plans would mean Google could cement itself as an internet service provider, and the mobile network would complement its Google Fibre broadband, reports added.

Online Safety: 12-15-year-olds send an average of 255 texts per week.

It’s difficult to be a parent in the digital age. Your kids probably know more about the Internet than you do (you can undo sent emails now?), and they’re using gadgets and apps you’ve never heard of (what’s a Whisper?).

There’s simply no way to keep kids off the web, or to keep smartphones out of their little hands. Instead, arm yourself with knowledge: How are “kids these days” interacting with tech, and how worried should you be?

eBuyer assembled the results of a comprehensive study of kids’ and teens’ online activity. The results range from expected — 95% of 12- to 15-year-olds own at least one smartphone, tablet or other media device — to more surprising — the same age demographic has an average of 78 Facebook friends they’ve never met in real life.

However, despite the mass of online content that might be inappropriate for a young child, most parents (83%) trust their children to use the Internet safely, and a majority (79%) discuss Internet safety with their child.

Take a look at the infographic to learn more about how the digital generation navigates the web.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

digital generation infographic

McKinsey: Kenya and Senegal lead on Internet’s contribution to overall GDP in Africa (iGDP)

The Internet’s contribution to Africa’s overall GDP is low. Senegal and Kenya, though not the continent’s largest economies, are in the lead.

Following a decade of rapid urbanization and strong economic growth, Africa is going digital. While just 16 percent of the continent’s one billion people are online, that picture is changing rapidly.

Evidence of what is to come can already be seen in Africa’s major cities, where consumers have greater disposable income, more than half have Internet-capable devices, and 3G networks are up and running. Significant infrastructure investment—for example, increased access to mobile broadband, fibre-optic cable connections to households, and power-supply expansion—combined with the rapid spread of low-cost smartphones and tablets, has enabled millions of Africans to connect for the first time. There is a growing wave of innovation as entrepreneurs and large corporations alike launch new web-based ventures.

Africa’s Internet opportunity

Today, Africa’s iGDP1 (which measures the Internet’s contribution to overall GDP) remains low, at 1.1 percent—just over half the levels seen in other emerging economies. But there is significant variation among individual countries. Senegal and Kenya, though not the continent’s largest economies, have Africa’s highest iGDPs, and governments in both countries have made concerted efforts to stimulate Internet demand (exhibit).



The Internet’s contribution to Africa’s overall GDP is low. Senegal and Kenya, though not the continent’s largest economies, are in the lead.

By 2025, Africa’s iGDP should grow to at least 5 to 6 percent, matching that of leading economies such as Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. However, if the Internet achieves the same kind of scale and impact as the spread of mobile phones in Africa, iGDP could account for as much as 10 percent, or $300 billion, of total GDP while producing a leap forward in economic and social development.

Under this scenario, increased Internet penetration and use could propel private consumption 13 times higher than current levels. Demographic trends—including urbanization, rising incomes, and a huge generation of young, tech-savvy Africans—will drive this growth.

More than half of urban African consumers already have Internet-capable devices. Basic smartphones have already fallen below the “tipping point” of $100 per unit, and companies are introducing new affordable models specifically geared to the African market. Africa’s smartphone penetration, currently at 2 to 5 percent, could reach 50 percent in leading countries and 30 percent overall. This translates into 300 million new smartphones being sold in Africa in the decade ahead. PC, laptop, and tablet penetration could double, to 40 percent.

Most countries have strategies for information communications technology in place. If governments fully implement these plans, move key processes such as benefit payments and tax filing online, and introduce digital health and education initiatives, Africa’s public-sector spending on Internet-related initiatives could rise sharply by 2025. Private investment, too, is likely to increase significantly as telecommunications operators continue to build out networks and as more companies begin digitizing their operations.

Transforming six key sectors

The Internet’s greatest impact in Africa is likely to be concentrated in six sectors: financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture, and government. Technology-related productivity gains in these sectors could reach $148 billion to $318 billion by 2025, and large populations stand to benefit as a result.

  • Financial services. The Internet will reduce transaction costs and bring financial services to people who may live far from the nearest bank branch or ATM. With digital technology, more than 60 percent of Africans could have access to banking services by 2025, with more than 90 percent using mobile wallets for daily transactions and remittances.
  • Education. Many schools that currently lack sufficient textbooks could soon access the world’s best educational content on affordable tablets or e‑books; teachers, too, will benefit from more effective training. The technology-related productivity gains in education could reach $30 billion to almost $70 billion—enabling governments to achieve more with their education budgets and providing millions of students with the foundation for a better future.
  • Health. Today, Africa has only 1.1 doctors and 2.7 nurses per 1,000 people, and many people travel long distances for care. But the Internet is enabling greater use of remote diagnosis, treatment, and education. Technology-related benefits in health care could range from $84 billion to $188 billion by 2025—and the broader social and economic impact of improved health outcomes will be far greater.
  • Retail. E‑commerce will open up a new shopping experience for Africa’s growing middle class. By 2025, it could account for 10 percent of retail sales in the continent’s largest economies, which will translate into some $75 billion in annual revenue.
  • Agriculture. Farmers can access expertise and information on everything from weather, crop selection, and pest control to management and finance. It can also improve access to markets, generating better prices for produce.
  • Government. The Internet is a powerful tool to improve transparency, streamline service delivery, and automate revenue collection, delivering productivity gains of $10 billion to $25 billion.

Despite a slow start, Africa’s digital development is now accelerating. As the continent grows more connected, it is already producing innovative web-based applications and dynamic new business models. For now, the Internet in Africa remains a wide-open space where companies can capture large opportunities if they move rapidly and decisively. Most exciting of all are the possibilities for using the Internet to revamp the delivery of education, health, and other public services—transforming lives in the process.

About the authors

James Manyika is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, where Michael Chui is a principal; Armando Cabral is a director in McKinsey’s Lisbon office; and Suraj Moraje and Safroadu Yeboah-Amankwah are directors in the Johannesburg office, where Lohini Moodley is an associate principal and Jerry Anthonyrajah is a consultant.

McKinsey Global Institute

McKinsey Global Institute

Our business and economics research arm, informing management and policy decisions since 1990.more

About this research

This report draws on applied research carried out by McKinsey consultants. To learn more about our expertise please visit High Tech Practice, Telecommunications Practice.

Read more from the McKinsey Report

Online shopping trends of major concern

The safety of digital payments remains a concern among online shoppers across Africa. This is according to Mastercard’s 2014 Online Shopping Behaviour Study, which tracks consumer attitudes and activity online.

The survey was conducted in 11 countries across Africa and the Middle East between November 2013 and January 2014.

1. Security remains a concern

The survey found that South African shoppers feel secure payment methods are crucial when purchasing goods online. Some 42% of respondents cited concern around the safety of online transactions as the reason they had not shopped online in the last three months, up from 4% last year.

Security was also cited by 69% of Nigerian respondents as the reason they had not shopped online in the last three months, followed by 59% of those in Kenya, 47% in Egypt and 43% in Morocco.

When asked how online shopping could be improved, 53% of South African respondents suggested assurances that their transactions are secure, while 52% recommended protection against crooked websites. Another 48% suggested guarantees by financial transaction companies or banks that websites are safe.

Despite these concerns over security, 69% of South African respondents had made at least one purchase online in the last three months, with 87% being satisfied with their experience.

“Consumers want to shop online but they are still nervous about doing so,” says Philip Panaino, division president for Mastercard South Africa, adding that the survey confirms that mandating secure card payments is important to ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s e-commerce industry.

Retaining a human element in the purchasing process reassures shoppers – 82% of respondents stated that customer service via online chat or telephone is important when shopping online.

Retailers should also educate shoppers, particularly inexperienced internet users and first-time customers, about the security measures in their online stores, says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

2. Online shopping is becoming more mainstream

The study found that South Africa’s e-commerce sector is growing. Only 24% of local online spend was on foreign sites, down from 27% last year and 33% in 2012.

Of all five markets surveyed, 53% of Moroccan respondents use the internet primarily for online shopping, slightly higher than 52% of South Africans surveyed, followed by 44% in Egypt and just 4% in Kenya.

“The products that consumers are buying suggest that online shopping is becoming increasingly mainstream, which also bodes well for local retailers,” says Goldstuck. “No longer is online shopping confined to books and DVDs, plane tickets and apps.”

Across all five markets surveyed, travel, clothing, accessories and electronics are the products most often bought online. South African shoppers buying groceries (38%), clothing (34%) and personal care (20%) brands online increased by 7%, 8% and 6% respectively.

“The increases are encouraging as shopping for goods in these categories is more complex. Selecting clothing, for example, requires trust in the retailers’ garment and sizing descriptions,” says Goldstuck.

3. Growth in mobile shopping

Mobile shopping is gaining traction in Africa and 56% of respondents in Kenya and Nigeria had shopped or intended to shop online via their mobile phones. This was followed by 55% of Egyptian consumers, 33% of South African shoppers and 25% of Moroccans.

“When contemplating the future of online shopping in South Africa, and given that 96% of consumers who own a mobile phone access the internet this way, it is unsurprising that mobile shopping is attracting tremendous interest,” Goldstuck says.

The most popular items purchased using a mobile phone included mobile phone apps, music downloads, movie tickets, computer software and coupon/deal site offers.

“Mobile phones are still used frequently to research products and compare prices before purchase in a physical store, but there is a marked increase in the use of mobile banking apps, digital wallets and in-app shopping which indicates increased comfort with the technology,” says Goldstuck. Read more